FIS World Cup Beitostølen, Norway 4 x 5 k / 4 x 7.5 k Relay
Sunday in Beitostølen, Norway the women raced a 4 x 5-kilometer relay on firm tracks and under partly cloudy skies — Saturday’s races featured fresh snowfall.
Norway I took the win in a total time of 57:23.6 minutes. In order of relay legs, Heidi Weng, Therese Johaug, Ragnhild Haga, and Ingvild Flugstad Østberg comprised the team that raced at the sharp end of the race for all but the first leg.
Weng, the first leg skier for Norway, tagged Johaug in fourth, 7.3 seconds behind Russia’s Yulia Belorukova who scrambled for Russia I. From then on, Norway I set the speed benchmark.
Despite Russia I’s star power, it was Russia II that took second place Sunday. Lidia Durkina, Anna Zherebyateva, Mariya Istomina, and Elena Soboleva, having been gapped by Norway I, could pack-ski until the final stretch to slot over the line .5 seconds ahead of third place Finland I. (Russia II finished 37.3 seconds behind Norway I.)
Russia I’s anchor, Anna Nechaevskaya, fell in the final downhill turn losing several places for her team.
Finland I, the third-place team on the day, featured Johanna Matintalo, Krista Pärmäkoski, Ritta-Liisa Roponen, and Eveliina Piippo. Finland I finished 37.8 seconds behind winner Norway I.
The U.S. I team placed fifth (+48.0) in a performance that saw them out dual Sweden and Norway II in the closing moments of the race. Sadie Bjornsen, Rosie Brennan, Caitlin Patterson, and Jessie Diggins skied for the U.S. on a roster absent some names that were longtime staples of the U.S. team’s relay quartet — both Kikkan Randall and Liz Stephen retired from racing last season.
The U.S. had planned on fielding a second team featuring the U.S. Ski Team’s (USST) Sophie Caldwell (USST), Ida Sargent (USST), Kelsey Phinney (SMS T2), and Kaitlynn Miller (CGRP), however, they did not start.
Canada did not enter a team.
Norway I held on for the win in the men’s 4 x 7.5 k relay today in Beitostølen in a time of 57:23.6 minutes. This was head-to-head racing at its finest. After 30 k of racing, the final standings came down to a lunge at the finish between Norway I and Russia I. Russia I placed second (+0.7).
Emil Iversen, Martin Johnsrud Sundby, Sjur Røthe, and Finn Hågen Krogh formed the Norway I team. The Russia I team included Evgeniy Belov, Alexander Bolshunov, Denis Spitsov, and Andrey Melnichenko.
Norway II’s Didrik Tønseth, Hans Christer Holund, Magne Haga, and Simen Hegstad Krueger placed third (+53.4).
The U.S. team of Erik Bjornsen, Kevin Bolger, Scott Patterson, and Simi Hamilton placed 12th (+3:22.7).
Canada did not enter a team.
IBU World Cup, Pokljuka, Slovenia 7.5 k / 12.5 k Pursuit
Looking smooth across the finish line, Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Bø, won the men’s 12.5 k pursuit in Pokljuka, Slovenia in a time of 30:20.4 minutes. That smoothness was matched in a photo finish with France’s Quentin Fillon Maillet who placed second, 0.1 seconds behind Bø. Maillet cleaned his four shooting stages.
Bø looked in control for the last portions of the race. His strong skiing gave him a 50-second lead as he began his final shooting stage. There, the Norwegian missed two targets, allowing the chasers to latch back on during the final lap. In total, Bø missed three targets, one during his first prone stage, and two during his second standing stage.
Russia’s Alexander Loginov was third in the sprint, finishing 1.9 seconds back. Loginov missed one target in his first standing bout, otherwise, he shot clean.
Canada’s Christian Gow placed 14th (+1:09.1) while shooting clean. No other Canadians qualified for the pursuit.
For the U.S., Leif Nordgren was the best placed American in 33rd (+2:39.1, 0+2+1+0). Sean Doherty was 39th (+3:07.9, 0+0+2+2),
Kaisa Mäkäräinen of Finland won the women’s 10 k sprint in a time of 29:16.9 minutes. Mäkäräinen shot clean during the competition. Italy’s Dorothea Wierer was second, finishing 41.3 seconds behind while also shooting clean during all four shooting bouts.
Third place went to Paulina Fialkova of Slovenia. Fialkova finished 59.2 seconds back and shot clean for the day.
For the U.S., Clare Egan placed a career-best sixth (+1:22.4, 0+0+1+0). Egan missed a single target during the race.
“I knew the pieces were there,” Egan told IBU TV after the race. “I had clean shooting in a [preseason] race at the Austrian trials before the World Cup. And then I had just awesome ski times this week, so I knew it was coming. I just had really good focus today, and I love competing head to head, so pursuit is a great race for me. I thought I was… I wasn’t sure if I was in fifth or sixth, and this Norwegian skier [Marte Olsbu Røiseland], really good, just got me at the finish. So I was so happy when I looked up and saw that I was in sixth in the flower ceremony.”
Also for the U.S., Susan Dunklee placed 39th (+3:36.3 0+1+0+1), and Joanne Reid 43rd (+3:51., 0+0+1+0).
No Canadian women qualified for today’s pursuit.
Sovereign Lake NorAm/SuperTour 5k/10k Classic
The Sovereign Lake weekend wrapped up with individual start classic distance races and a more neighbourly distribution of results.
Katherine Stewart-Jones (CNST) won the women’s 10km in 31:48.4, hanging on in the last lap to finish ahead of APU’s Becca Rorabaugh (+7.1) and SMS’ Julia Kern (+7.8). APU’s Hailey Swirlbul snatched 4th at 10.9 seconds with Dahria Beatty (CNST) in 5th, 26.7 seconds back.
Kyle Bratrud (SMS T2) won the battle in the men’s 15km in 41:59.3, 3.8 seconds ahead of Ben Lustgarten (CGRP) and 34.7 seconds ahead of Ricardo Izquierdo-Bernier (NMU/CNEPH). Sam Hendry (CJNST) edged out Andy Newell (SMS T2) for fifth.